Mortgage Market Update

Consumers views on economic conditions surged in April to its highest reading since July, as reported by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on Consumer Sentiment. The Index rose to 84.1, above the 82.6 expected. Consumer expectations rose to 74.7 in April from 70.0 in March.

A recent study of U.S. manufacturing shows that the sector has grown more competitive with factories in China, Brazil and most of the globe’s other major economies. In China, rising energy costs and wages have cut into the edge that China has held on most other manufacturing nations. Labor costs have soared by 187% in the last decade in China, while the U.S. has seen an increase of only 27%. In addition, China’s currency has risen more than 30% against the dollar, which make its goods produced and sold abroad more expensive to purchase.

The closely watched Monthly Employment Report will be released next Friday on May 2 and will be scrutinized by traders and investors around the globe. It is expected that employers added 210,000 new workers in April. Last December and January job growth averaged just 114,000 per month, which was due in part to the harsh winter weather. February and March averaged a more robust 194,000 per month and the sector will have to continue to create at least that amount to get back to more healthy levels.